Though common in surrounding states for years, the referendum process in Indiana is relatively new. Prior to the passage of Public Law 146 by the state legislature in 2008, referendums were rare in Indiana. It’s such a new process, that I am frequently asked “What exactly is a referendum?” Because the Franklin Township Community School Corporation will be placing a referendum question on the ballot in May 2011, this is a good time to explain what a referendum is and why the need for one in Franklin Township.
A school funding referendum is a direct vote in which all of the registered voters of a school corporation are asked to accept or reject a school funding proposal. Through the referendum process, major school funding decisions cannot be made by an elected Board or a government agency. Only the taxpayers, who are registered to vote (and do vote!), have the ability to support public education in their community with adequate funding.
In 2009 the State of Indiana took control of the General Funds for all school corporations and also capped a homeowner’s property tax liability at one percent. Unfortunately, FTCSC is an unintended victim amidst these changes. The amount of money received from the state on a per-pupil-basis is among the lowest in the state, and our revenue loss due to the property tax caps is among the highest in the state. The overwhelming loss of funding has created a budget crisis.
Due to the property tax caps, combined with the chronic underfunding determined by Indiana’s school funding formula, we are forced to ask the voters of Franklin Township for support of a referendum at the polls in May of 2011. This is an important vote because if the referendum passes, FTCSC will legally be able to raise property taxes just slightly above the cap which will enable us to keep the school system running.
If the referendum does not pass, FTCSC will be forced to implement the painful expenditure reductions that our Board of Education recently approved. Information regarding the reduction plan, tax calculators, and other financial information will be linked to the pages within our website. Please keep checking as information will be updated and revised as necessary.
Thank you for your support of this great school system.There are meetings scheduled at each of our schools regarding the referendum. The meeting times are listed in the attachment below and can be printed: Parent Meeting Dates -Revised 2/21/2011